Valis is the first proper Mastery full-length and the most extreme record The Flenser has ever released. As its name and sigil demands, Mastery is a vessel to ascend the partial mind; one impulsive and chaotic, the other of collected illumination. A meditation unto the will subconscious. The solo black metal entity is the product of mastermind Ephemeral Domignostika (Pale Chalice, Pandiscordian Necrogenesis, Horn of Dagoth). Once a follower in the tradition of fellow Bay Area acts Leviathan, Crebain and Weakling, Mastery has evolved into something more. Valis is like a form of free jazz black metal—twisted and complex, with upwards of 100 riffs per song. Eschewing traditional songwriting and conceptual forms, Domignostika creates through spontaneous composition, cut ups and free performance. His extremely unique guitar style, polyrhythmic drum patterns and urgent vocal delivery bely the fact that Valis is the work of one person playing everything with the utmost intentionality. Mastery has previously released five extremely limited (and long sold out) demos since 2004, a collection on the tUMULt label in 2011 titled Barbaric Usurpation of the Hypereonic Black Metal Throne, and split albums with with Skullflower and Palace of Worms.
“One can only assume that Mastery mastermind Ephemeral Domignostika is an extremely dangerous career sociopath after being subjected to this spastic sonic evisceration; either that or a deeply disturbed black metal savant.” —That’s How Kids Die
“Mastery is total berzerker black metal, rooted in the tradition of true grim blackness, but filtered through Mastery’s cracked perception, transforming this into something beyond true; a droned out and damaged, outsider blackness, that sounds pretty much unlike almost any other black metal.” —Aquarius
We have ordered a repress of Botanist’s latest VI: Flora. Now on violet colored vinyl.
Botanist is an avant-garde musical project that is the world’s first band to use distorted hammered dulcimers as its primary instrumentation. The experimental music further delves into esoterica with a harmonium and a 12-string bass guitar, propelled by unusual drumming that often features highly atypical time signatures and rhythm shifts. The albums tell the story of a botanist gone mad at witnessing the destruction of the natural environment at the hands of man. He retreats into a hermitage, surrounding himself with the natural world. In this Verdant Realm, he awaits for the day when humanity will eradicate itself, which will allow for the utopia of flora and fauna to eventually reclaim the earth. The content of Botanist’s songs are a combination of scientific botanical empiricism and the poetic, romantic perception of someone who is deeply moved by the forms of the primordial, mysterious aspect of the natural world. In the world of Botanist, nature is the most tangible representation of the divine, and is treated as such. While Botanist’s story is negative and misanthropic on the surface, it is an allegory of warning to a world out of balance: respect the natural world and all living things, or else the natural world will wipe you out and move on. The element of hope lies in the possibility of a changing of worldview, or at the very least the ideal that the world will right itself eventually, whether that includes humanity or not.
One of the most mysterious and enigmatic musical entities to come out of Italy in recent years, Father Murphy, has announced a new full-length album that will be available March 17th from The Flenser. Titled Croce, this new collection of dark psychedelic/industrial cabaret is a concept record about the cross (yes, it’s THAT cross – ‘croce’ in Italian), with one side of the record sonically representing the suffering and sacrifice and the flip side reflecting what comes after; the end of said suffering, resurrection, or perhaps oblivion. This album marks the band’s fifth full-length release of their extensive catalogue (discography can be found below) and was recorded by John Dieterich in Albuquerque, NM and mixed by Greg Saunier earlier this year.
The sounds Father Murphy creates on Croce are shadowy, the atmospheres muddy and murky, from which spring unexpected blurts of impossibly catchy noise pop, approaching at times something almost operatic, like some twisted musical detailing the trials and tribulation of the crucifixion. Male and female vocals by Freddie Murphy and Chiara Lee intertwine over distorted blasts of guitar crunch, anchored by stuttering homebuilt percussion. This sound is both textural and nuanced but also noisy and chaotic, and that chaos is carefully sculpted into jagged shards of fragmented pop, and that pop oven into a dramatic, almost theatrical song suite.
The first side of the 8 song, 36-minute album finishes up with the song “In Solitude”, an appropriately dour slab of murky miserablism that sounds like a slow sonic death, a haunting dirge that dissolves into that ineffable space that exists between the record’s second side; the netherworld, the afterlife, Purgatory even. But Father Murphy erupt from this stygian blackness with the second half of Croce (meant to be the light to the A side’s dark) and yet the opener is still somehow strangely doomy; a field of metallic shimmer and more junkyard percussion, strung together into a spare framework, over which dramatic male vocals soar, the female vocals responding like some demonic Greek chorus, but true to the theme, the vibe grows strangely warm. Croce’s finale, “They Won’t Hurt You”, is all majestic pipe organ, a stirring and stately court music, lush and lovely and epic, the sound of rebirth, redemptive and ultimately restorative, a return from the beyond, arisen from the grave, ascended into the heavens, the sounds drifting upwards, beyond the galaxy, the universe, into the unknowable infinity. Croce is yet another masterpiece in Father Murphy’s pervasive and provocative story.
2015 will see Father Murphy touring once again – they recently closed out US and Canadian dates with Iceage and upon their return to Europe, played a set at Michael Gira’s Mouth to Mouth Festival in The Netherlands – this time in support of Croce. Look for tour dates, song premieres, and more information to come soon.
Father Murphy Croce Track Listing (available 3/17/15):
1. Blood Is Thicker Than Water
2. A Purpose
3. So This Is Permanent
4. In Solitude
5. Long May We Continue
6. All The People Yelling Fire
7. We Walk By Faith
8. They Won’t Hurt You
Band photo by Sara Xiayu
KING WOMAN TO RELEASE ‘DOUBT’ EP ON FEBRUARY 17th, 2015
New 4-Song EP Available on Vinyl & Digital Formats via The Flenser
Bay Area, CA’s King Woman, fronted by vocalist Kristina Esfandiari (Ex-Whirr, Miserable), will be releasing their first proper EP release on February 17th, 2015. Titled Doubt, this EP marks King Woman’s first release with a full band and is a dark, brooding gem of introspective heaviness. Doubt finds King Woman awash with churning and crumbling distortion providing a roiling, blackened backdrop for Esfandiari’s throaty, bewitching vocals like a twisted fusion of PJ harvey, Sunn 0))) and Black Sabbath.
Doubt is a follow-up to prior releases Dove/Fond Affections (The Native Sound) and Degrida / Sick Bed (Sleep Genius). Both two-song EP’s were released to great critical acclaim. IMPOSE said Dove had “…both a classical approach to composition and a modern narrative of expressing sadness through slow-sinking quicksand.” King Woman went on to play shows along the West Coast with bands like Ceremony, Planning For Burial and Chasms before catching the attention of fellow San Franciscan Flenser Records, with whom they’ll team up for release of this 4-song EP.
Kristina Esfandiari originally formed King Woman back in 2009, but the band had taken a backseat to her other projects at the time like Miserable and Whirr (with whom she played with from 2012 to 2013), where she found her confidence from a vigorous touring schedule of playing stage shows, floor shows, and everything in between. King Woman got together very organically; Kristina said it just “…kind of happened. I grew up with my drummer, Joey, and guitarist, Colin. I asked Colin to play guitar for one of my shows and the rest is history.” Kristina continued, “We wrote a lot of this EP by Colin sending me guitar ideas and I’d just sing over them, not realizing how good it was. Soon we started getting Joey to jam with us, and then Sky wanted to play bass. Now here we are.” Colin Gallagher, who had given up on music entirely until he played guitar for Esfandiari’s other project, Miserable, commented, “I was going through a lot of self-reflection. For me, the songs are about struggling to change things.” Esfandiari continued, “I started this project as a form of therapy for myself. I wanted to work through being raised in an oppressive religious environment. The theme is just the turbulent journey of de-converting from Christianity and finally coming out of the closet about it and being rejected by a lot of family members and friends because of it.”
Doubt touches on some heavy topics and allows Esfandiari’s lyrical ingenuity to really shine; with nods to issues like religious abuse, sex, metaphysics and heartbreak as well as physical abuse and “…tough topics that weigh heavily on my heart”, she says. “I just write what feels right.” Recorded with engineer Patrick Hills (Tera Melos, 7 Seconds, So Stressed) at Earth Tone in Sacramento, CA earlier this year, Doubt was mixed and produced by Esfandiari herself – which she described as “quite a challenge” – and the four resulting tracks are more cathartic, more brooding and more hypnotic than ever before. The band wears their musical influence on their sleeve: “We love bands like Black Sabbath, OM, Neurosis and Jesu”, said Kristina, and with her lush and dramatic vocals not unlike Mazzy Star and even Beth Gibbons, King Woman has created a sound all their own.
The Flenser will release Doubt on Vinyl and Digital formats on February 17th. Song premieres, show announcements, and more information coming very soon.
KING WOMAN is:
Kristina Esfandiari – Vocals
Colin Gallagher – Guitar
Joey Raygoza – Drums (also of Skin Like Iron)
Sky Madden – Bass (also of Chasms)
Doubt Track Listing:
2. King Of Swords
4. Candescent Soul
Photo by M.J. Bernier.
England/Ohio’s Mat Sweet will be releasing another album under the Boduf Songs moniker on February 3rd via The Flenser. Titled Stench Of Exist, this 11-song LP feels at once like the most accessible Boduf Songs record and at the same time, the most esoteric. From the opium flow of the tracks, running heady into one another like tributes to river, to the muted-industrial-electronic-effected drums underscoring the spiraling melodies and fluttering drones, to the clean and rich guitar, abstracted cycles and feedback walls, Stench Of Exist feels dark, like whispered doom metal masquerading as a lullaby
Boduf Songs began in 2004 as a predominantly acoustic project, in the form of a self-titled record made by Mat Sweet in his small chambers in gloomy Swaythling, Southampton, England with a modest set-up centering around a mini-disc recorder and a PC with a 4Gb hard drive. In 2006, the follow-up Lion Devours The Sun refined the stripped-down sound into darker forests and denser compositions, exploring the same themes with increased deliberation and experimentation. 2008’s How Shadows Chase the Balance expanded the palette further beyond the acoustic finger-picking and into shimmering electric territories. “…A record filled with obscurity, secrecy, and wickedness” according to Brainwashed.com. In 2010, Sweet brought us This Alone Above All Else In Spite of Everything, featuring new levels of howling despair, still filtered through a stoic, disarming, calm; “My hammer feels the urge/ To nail you to the ground/ To smash one through your cheek/and splinter into wooden floorboards.” For 2013’s Burnt up on Re-Entry, Sweet underscored the heavy and experimental undertones found on This Alone with more electronic elements, as well as occasional scorched-earth guitars. The album was hailed as “despairing and unfriendly… the richest and most surprising Boduf release yet” by Pitchfork.
Boduf Songs’ newest material on Stench Of Exist is still shadowy; a drowsy, druggy, dreamy record that unfolds languorously, laced with mysterious electronic filigree. Stench of Exist is gorgeously intimate and transforms the minimal into maximal with layers of electro-detritus wreathed in lush guitar strums, street-side field recordings, reverberating pianos and softly crooned vocals. It is a record of rain and cities and night-time. The collision of arabesque tonality with the electronic sound and ambiences brings to mind the promise of Blade Runner – half-asleep at 4am and slightly medicated, with the pyramids and flame spewing cityscape and eggshell-within-eggshell pronouncements in downpour glowing against the fluttering eyelids in the almost-dreaming unter-mind. The dream version, wherein Rachel has faux-cellular brain and heart cancer and Deckard is a figment of her dwindling, mournfully constructed pseudo-psyche, itself the wavering hallucination of a dying opium fiend in Calcutta sucking up death as his brittle bones cave in on themselves, in flickering, vignette-heavy, inky-black monochrome. A record for saturnine commuters, on headphones, after sunset.
Stay tuned for more information and song premieres to come soon.
BODUF SONGS – Stench Of Exist Track Listing:
1. Jacket Cruiser
2. My Continuing Battle With Material Reality
3. Thwart By Thwart
4. The Witch Cradle
5. Great Anthem Of My Youth
6. Head of Hollow-Fill and Mountaintop Removal
7. The Rotted Names
8. Grows in the Small World of Nerve
9. Modern Orbita
10. Last Song Save One
11. Sky Pedal’s Plan
Brooklyn, NY’s instrumental post-metal outfit Sannhet are excited to call Flenser Records their new home. The band was founded in late 2010 and released their debut LP Known Flood via Sacrament Records (St. Vitus Bar’s label) in February of 2013 to great critical acclaim. Pitchfork said the record “…welds the power of black metal, sludge metal, and grindcore to the structures and orders of post-rock and post-punk” and SteelForBrains called it”…an aural trek into the consciousness of all that is sacred to metal. Percussion driven but never overwhelming – the album steers around audio samples, ominous sounds, and the undercurrent of a kind of seething introspection.”
Sannhet’s second full-length, Revisionist, is set for release on March 3rd via San Francisco’s Flenser Records. The 9-track LP is a dizzying concoction of math-metal intricacy, prismatic pop shimmer, and dense metallic crush, taking the metalgaze sound of like minded modern metal combos like Deafheaven or Alcest and adding more dynamic indie rockisms and churning noise rock crunch.
More information on Sannhet’s Revisionist will be coming soon. In the meantime, keep up with the band on Facebook and check out videos from Known Flood tracks “Absecon Isle” and “Slow Ruin”.
We still have colored vinyl copies in The Flenser store.
We are now shipping Kayo Dot’s retro-future-noir masterpiece Coffins On Io.
Currently we have CD’s and very small number of copies left in The Flenser store.
You can order both vinyl and CD’s from our distributor here.
Stream/download directly from The Flenser bandcamp.
Led by founding member Toby Driver (also of Secret Chiefs 3), Kayo Dot emerged in Boston, MA in 2002 from the ashes of metal group Maudlin of the Well. Since then, Driver has led Kayo Dot through several lineup changes and dramatic stylistic shifts: from traditional metal, to atmospheric, avant-garde metal; and now with their new album Coffins on Io, the bats-in-your-belfry hard rock of Sisters of Mercy meets Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, Scritti Politti and early Roxy Music.
In 2013, Kayo Dot demarcated the beginning of a sonic change by releasing their critically acclaimed conceptual double-albumHubardo. Undeniably experimental, but largely unclassifiable, Hubardo received rave reviews: SputnikMusic ranked it among their best albums of 2013, and CVLT Nation called it, “mesmerizing avant garde blackened doom,” and a “towering achievement.”
But when it comes to Kayo Dot, change is the only constant. And like the best pop culture chameleons of the past, Kayo Dot’s evolution is governed by an inscrutable inner-logic. Despite the accessible songwriting of Coffins on Io and the emphasis on vocal melody and electronic percussion, Kayo Dot fans will find the record’s darkness and intensity familiar and relatable. For example: the dark wave of Coffins on Io album-track “Off-ramp Cycle” might be unrecognizable to Kayo Dot’s metal fans. “The sound is kind of like a sexy combination of Type O Negative, Peter Gabriel, Sisters of Mercy,” Driver says. But the track also encompasses the brooding menace of classic Bauhaus as well as current dark wavers Cold Cave and Crystal Stilts: artists young and old who live and die in those unknowable corners where heaviness meets delicacy and sincerity meets theatricality.
Elsewhere, Driver’s penchant for prog rock surfaces in the ethereal “Spirit Photography,” complete with a saxophone melody line—strikingly gentle when compared to Kayo Dot’s brutal back catalog. “Long Time Disturbance on the Miracle Mile” could be a Bryan Ferry-era Roxy Music cut, and “The Mortality of Doves” could be Eno-produced David Bowie.
Driver says there’s also an element of sexuality in Coffins on Io.“Basically the vibe that we’re going for here is inspired by 80s retro-future noir— Blade Runner,” Driver explains. “I wanted to make a good record to put on while you drive across the desert at night under a toxic, post-apocalyptic atmosphere,” he says, adding, “There’s a weird underlying theme of murder, shame and death.”
1. The Mortality of Doves
2. Offramp Cycle, Pattern 22
3. Longtime Disturbance on the Miracle Mile
4. Library Subterranean
5. The Assassination of Adam
6. Spirit Photography
Most pre-orders for the album have shipped. However, a small number of green vinyl has been delayed. We are expecting this to get here very soon. Thank you for waiting!
In 2008, Have A Nice Life released their now cult classic Deathconsciousness LP to a whimper and critical non-interest. Six years after its release the band followed up with 2014′s stunner The Unnatural World, Deathconsciousness has become a force of influence and fanatic obsession. Seamlessly blending, with unparalleled depth and weight, shoegaze, post punk, new wave, industrial and noise. The album was originally released by Enemies List Home Recordings founded by HANL members Dan and Tim. The album has since floated in and out of production, with the last instantly out of print vinyl pressing occurring in 2009. Now, longtime HANL collaborator The Flenser will re-issue Deathconsciousness with deluxe packaging, including a lengthy accompanying zine and colored vinyl. Have A Nice Life commented, “Working with Flenser lets us keep things comfortable on our end, while also pressing enough copies to actually meet the need and not creating an artificially-inflated collector’s market, as happened with some of our past releases.”
The Flenser’s reissue of Deathconsciousness will be accompanied by a 75-page booklet detailing the dark and forgotten history of the Antiochean cult. Blurring the lines between novella, liner notes, and academic text, the zine itself presents an engrossing narrative. The album is rhythmic, primal and expansive and is a gloomy-post-punk masterpiece; a mediation on death, loss and unrequited love. Deathconsciousness feels more fresh and engaging with every listen and has held up as a remarkable piece of art. Fans of Have A Nice Life exhibit both cultic thought and action for good reason. It is perhaps a fanbase as dark and mysterious as the Antiochean’s, the album itself revolves around. Now The Flenser is honored to rerelease Deathconsciousness a gorgeous and disarming contribution to the modern lexicon for a larger audience.
We are currently not taking any more orders for Deathconcscousness but you can order the album directly from our distributer Midheaven.